I know I promised horror soundtracks for the next music entry, but, since one of my favourite bands just released their new album, obviously I need to write about that instead. :P Tokyo horror rock band, The Candy Spooky Theater, have just released 'SPOOKYWONDERLAND'!
"Summary: After years of waiting, The Candy Spooky Theater have finally released their first official full length album! Containing a mixture of new songs and Candy Spooky classics, the album is a must have for fans of the band, and people wanting to liven-up and fully grasp the Halloween season!"
[SPOOKYWONDERLAND] on sale Oct. 1st, 2010
Distribution: Tainted Reality
Disk number: TRCS-004
01. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Introduction-
02. PRINCE OF DARKNESS
03. The LIVING DEAD
04. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -CABARETTA-
05. La Dance Macabre
06. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -SPOOKY HALLOWEEN-
07. THIS IS HALLOWEEEN(Danny Elfman cover)
08. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Kill You!-
10. SPOOK HOUSE
11. SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Finale-
12. TRICK or TREAT -End Credits-
13. Let's Meet With Chocolate And Candy
If you're outside of Japan you can buy the album from Tainted Reality's web store but copies are limited to 20 (13 left) or, if you live in Japan you can purchase it from one of the following stores: GURUGURU (also ships overseas), little HEARTS, RISKY DRUG STORE, Like An Edison, 自主盤倶楽部 (Meguro Rock May Kan) and ZEAL LINK.
This is technically the band's second album, but since the first was a collection of previously released singles, I suppose it doesn't count. Anyway, I had high expectations for this album, and honestly, I was not disappointed. The new songs are wonderful and all in English and the reworkings of the 3 previously released tracks are great too. Full review after the jump ↓
I'm going to go through the tracks one by one because I can't be bothered to write a proper review right now (how terribly lazy of me!). This is just my opinion of the album, other people might hear it very differently.
SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Introduction-
It sounds like the soundtrack to an old sci-fi horror B movie, which is kind of fun and a good intro to the album. It's also good because it has a mix of little bits of various songs on the album, but it's less than a minute long, so it's a little hard to get into it. I do like it though!
PRINCE OF DARKNESS
The first of the re-recordings of previously released tracks. The music for this is essentially the same as the old version, but the guitars are a little louder, the bass is a little fuller and the vocals have been re-done. Now, that's actually great, because the original was somewhat tinny and so it sounds better now I think. And of course the fact that this song is about Bela Lugosi has always made me like it more!
The LIVING DEAD
This is one of my favourite songs on the album. It's really good. It's got that kind of swingy/jazzy feel that 'Strip' has, but it's even better than that. I think the swing piano and brass synths work amazingly well together with the beat and guitars and as a song altogether, it's fantastic. I also like the lyrics, which are about eating brains and being one of the undead. I think it would absolutely kill live as well, so what's not to like!
La Dance Macabre
Reworking number 2. The music is pretty much the same as before - bouncy, jazzy and fun - but like 'Prince of Darkness' it's a little bassier and less tinny than before. They've also re-done the guitars and they're a little louder now, which is good . The vocals have also had a revamping and, for the most part, that's also a positive thing.
SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -SPOOKY HALLOWEEN-
This is another intrumental track that's just over a minute long, and honestly, it's the same 10 or so piano notes over and over again. I mean, it's nice, but...'Present for You' and the completely different version of 'Nemureru Mori no Hanayome' that they play live haven't been recorded or put on this album, so I don't know why they didn't replace the shorter instrumental tracks with those. However, the track does link 'La Dance Macabre' and 'THIS IS HALLOWEEN' together quite well.
THIS IS HALLOWEEN
I have to be honest here, the first time I listened to this, I didn't like it that much. However, the more I listen to it, the more I love it! Even though this song has been covered numerous times, TCST's version is quite possibly my favourite, and Jack Spooky's crazy voices are wonderful! I don't know if they could do it live, because that's a lot of different vocal parts, even if Peggy Giggles and Kal Bone Jr. helped, but it would be great if they did.
SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Kill You!-
This is another instrumental song and it is 29 seconds long. It's quite happy-sounding and poppy, but, at the same time, for some reason it reminds me of 70's and 80's horror movies where they used to play creepy childrens songs on a TV in the background as well.
'Alice' sounds very poppy, and to tell the truth, it doesn't fit in with the rest of the songs that well, as it is largely an Alice in Wonderland themed lovesong. If it wasn't for Jack Spooky singing on it, I wouldn't know this was TCST at all really. However, that doesn't mean that it's bad, because it isn't! In fact, it's quite refreshing that they've tried out a different style on this album, as I think it's easy for bands to get into a dull routine of always sounding the same.
The music and vocals have been re-recorded/re-programmed on 'SPOOK HOUSE' and it sounds a bit more swinging and goes with the other songs on the album before "...-Kill You-". They've taken off some of the guitars in places and put them in in other places instead, which is an improvement. There's also some jazzy piano playing on it now and I think it sounds pretty different to the original. Vocals-wise, Jack shouts "SPOOK HOUSE! SPOOK HOUSE! SPOOOOOK HOUSE!!" at the beginning, but after that, he doesn't seem to belt it out the way he did before. I'm not sure if he just wanted it to sound like that or what, but he gets back into it eventually. Basically, I love this version pretty much as much as the original, and I think it will sound pretty great live.
SPOOKYWONDERLAND PARADE -Finale-
This is another of the instrumental tracks...49 seconds this time. It is just thunder and lightning sounds with two weird laughs at the end, but it does add to the atmosphere of the album and links to the next track well.
TRICK or TREAT -End Credits-
Another instrumental track, and one which is fantastic! It's just over 3 minutes long and is a sort of distant piano sound playing a silent movie-esque, dark little track with crackles making it sound like an LP. I really like it. If I lived in a big, creepy mansion, I would want this playing and I'd make everyone dress like 1920's movie actors constantly. It's that kind of track.
Let's Meet With Chocolate And Candy
This song is insane! Insane in a Johnny Depp playing Willy Wonka kind of way...though I guess that would be called 'eccentric'. Anyway, it's a very bouncy, "lalalalalala" song and it's what should play in my head if I ever go completely mad. It sounds like an organ grinder's tune with it's "oom pa pa" kind of beat and accordian-esque synth and there's a xylaphone on it too. The vocals start off pitch adjusted (like Tsutomu) and then Jack Spooky comes in singing along with those high voices in his normal pitch. I would say that this one doesn't really sound like TCST either, but then, in a way, it completely does!